Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Assistance or Assistants?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between assistance and assistants?

Assistance means help or aid. For example:
  • I need assistance with my paperwork.
Assistants are people who provide help. It is the plural of the noun assistant. For example:
  • How many assistants will you hire?

Assistance and Assistants

The words assistance and assistants sound identical, but their meanings are different. Here's a very quick summary:
  • Assistance means help.
  • Assistants are helpers.

Assistance

The noun assistance means help. It usually means providing money, resources, or information to assist. Assistance can usually be substituted with the word help.

Examples:
  • I am unable to drive without assistance from my glasses.
  • Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. (Stephen Hawking)

Assistants

The word assistants describes people who provide help. It is the plural of the noun assistant.

Examples:
  • Rees and his assistants work at Columbia University, New York.
  • I don't like to work with assistants. I'm already one too many; the camera alone would be enough. (Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt)
Interactive Test
 
 
Top Tip

Much Assistance and Many Assistants

Assistance is a non-countable noun; i.e., it doesn't have a plural form. Therefore, many cannot be used with assistance because many is only used with countable nouns (like assistants). With assistance, use much. For example:
  • My many assistants provide me with much assistance.